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Fancy Perks Won't Get You Top Talent Startups are focusing on the wrong things to keep their employees motivated.

By Jeffrey Fermin Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


It feels as if every day a company is coming up with an insane perk that gives them some national attention. We put these companies on a pedestal and say that they are the progressive ones that are going to change the way human resources (HR) operates.

Even though having basic perks is enough, companies will go all out to provide a "wow" for a potential hire. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that a company is high and mighty, nor that the people there are happy.

Related: Entrepreneurs Need to Focus on Culture, Not Perks

Perks don't solve retention problems nor do they solve any employee engagement issues. If you want to come up with a way to keep employees for a long time, build an amazing team and let them innovate on their own.

Why perks don't work for younger employees

One of the things that traditional HR departments, and even some of the newer ones, do is focus on perks to try and get interest from millennial employees. It may seem as if these younger employees don't care or that they don't necessarily want to be working for an organization. But in reality, all they want is their ideas to be respected and perfected.

Sure, those cool perks that you hear about are nice to have, but they are not necessarily need-to-haves, which is a major mistake companies are starting to make.

The best thing you can do to get the most out of a young staff is offer perks like:

  • Flexible work hours
  • Some form of recognition
  • The ability to lead an initiative that they believe in
  • And most importantly, be completely transparent with them

When you have all these perks / factors put into place, it's just a matter of assembling a good team that respects one another and can come up with unique ideas that can help a company flourish. It sounds a lot harder than what it is, and fortunately in the age of big data and analytics, there are plenty of ways to obtain this information in order for your organization to succeed.

Related: Why Perks Don't Make a Company Culture

Come up with ways to build a team.

The lifeblood of an HR department is recruiting, and as companies get larger and grow in popularity, it becomes even more difficult to manage. Recruiters can spot talent, but how can they spot the fit? A pre-hiring assessment is good enough to learn about an individual's true personality and how they work with others.

You can always go with ice-breaker games or other kinds of team-building activities, but the best way to go about it is to use science to see what are the strengths of people within an organization. Worst case, come up with a crowdsourced solution that will help give you an overall feel for what people want out of their workplace, and how they can make it better.

As Henry Ford said, "Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." When people work together, amazing things happen. When we get rid of all those other things that can kill a company's culture, people want to work with one another and create.

Creation and innovation are what help companies excel and become timeless while leaving other archaic competitors in the dust. Think what Netflix did to Blockbuster.

Based off your culture, come up with ways to build better teams. Learn about the people within your organization, learn about any problems that they're having and how you as an organization can solve them. At least come up with a way to make the work environment tailored to your employees. Knowledge and information are the two most valuable commodities in the world, and the more you obtain, the more you will succeed.

Create a team that wants to innovate.

Find a way to find like-minded individuals to collaborate and share ideas with. There's a reason that team chemistry is a bit of a buzz phrase. In chemistry, if you put all the right pieces together, you can create something game-changing and, dare I say, ground-breaking.

However, if you put the wrong ingredients in a flask and shake it up, it'll lead to a pretty big explosion. This is not a good look for an organization of any size. The safest bet is to see what kind of chemicals you're dealing with within your organization and find out if they are a good fit with one another. Pair the right people with the right leaders, and put good coworkers together.

A winning team is nothing more than a science, and it's up to the head honcho to respect the fact that not everyone will get along, but find a way for everyone to be efficient and coexist with one another.

So ask yourself: Is your company using perks to lure in good talent, or do they use other means to get people to join the team? Is it an effective long-term strategy, and do you find it beneficial?

Related: 12 Companies With Over-the-Top Perks

Jeffrey Fermin

Digital Marketer. Fan of startups, marketing, art, and sports.

Jeffrey Fermin is a four-time startup founder that enjoys digital marketing, self-experimentation, taking risks, and, occasionally, writing blogs.

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